Compliance with pre-arbitration and pre-litigation notice procedures is critical to enforcing contractual rights: English High Court in Ipsos SA v Dentsu Aegis Network Limited

August 20, 2015

When a party to a contract wishes to sue, the contract may include specific procedures for giving notice to the counterparty in a prescribed way prior to the right to litigate or arbitrate in accordance with the contract becoming available. Recent judicial trends have shown the English court moving towards increased flexibility and reduced formality when construing claim notices.

Each notification clause will turn on its own wording. Where a contract provides for specific procedures for bringing claims generally, or certain types or classes of claims, parties need to take particular care in adhering to such procedures so that they perfect their entitlement to subsequently commence formal proceedings in accordance with the contract. This came to the fore in the recent English High Court decision in Ipsos SA v Dentsu Aegis Network Limited [2015] EWHC 1171, where the High Court reiterated that a claimant must take considerable care in ensuring it adheres to the precise requirements of the contractual pre-dispute notice requirements prior to commencing a claim. In Ipsos the claimant did not adhere to its notice requirements and was accordingly debarred from bringing formal proceedings.

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